During my client consultations, I ask prospective clients to bring in the products they are currently using. We review the products and I make recommendations based on the condition of their hair. I consider myself to be knowledgeable about some ingredients, but have no problem admitting that I am unclear about others. One of the ingredients that I commonly see on ingredients lists is panthenol.
Through my reading, I have heard many consider it to be a 'hair plumper', moisturizer...you name it! After seeing it on a number of products that receive natural hair love, I became a bit curious about the ingredient. I did my research and came up with my very own understanding of what this ingredient does for our hair and skin.
What is it?
Panthenol is a substance that is commonly used in skin and hair care products. You may also hear it coined as 'pro-vitamin B'.
Where does it come from?
The substance can be derived from plant, animal or synthetically created. Based on my findings, there is no way to tell where the instance in your particular product derives. Many natural or vegan products may include labeling to notify you that the product contains no animal products or may even go as far to place '(plant derived)' behind the ingredient.
What does it do to my hair?
Again, you may find that many will call this ingredient a 'plumper'. This made me think. Panthenol is a humectant and moisturizer. It has the dual ability to penetrate the hair shaft (adding moisture) and holding onto the moisture (humectant). The end result is 'glossier' hair that is more resistant to breakage. Because the panthenol has penetrated the hair shaft, some of the gaps (shed or damaged cuticle) are covered or sealed. (Think sealing a pot hole.)
This new smooth surface now reflects light (glossy effect) and has more body, movement and all of the other things we love about great hair because it is moisturized.
What does it do to my skin?
The same way that this ingredient can penetrate the hair shaft, it can also penetrate the skin. It expedites the healing function of the skin and allows the skin to hold onto its natural oils. You will find this ingredient in ointments and skin creams.
Are there any negative side effects?
According to the EWG Skin Deep® Cosmetics Database, there are currently no negative side effects reported.
Disclaimer: Please keep in mind that I am no scientist or formulator. I simply want to know how this ingredient impacts our hair and skin. I encourage you to do your own research and come up with your own conclusions. This is my story and I'm sticking to it. If you have supporting or contrasting facts, please comment below.